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Tag Archives: Hanukah

How to Make Your Own Menorah!

How to Make Your Own Menorah!

OK, I doubt I am the only Jew who is seriously disappointed by the Hanukah decor market.  I mean, TJ Maxx has had Christmas stuff since before Halloween, and has NOT ONE HANUKAH thing. Never mind that Hanukah is like a whole month earlier than Christmas. But I couldn’t even find some ugly blue and white cupcake liners, let alone a cool menorah (or any menorah for that matter).  Even on the interwebz, the selection of good, modern, interesting Hanukah stuff is really limited. With the exception of Jonathan Adler, who is making some rockin’ menorahs that I seriously cannot afford, the selection of stylish Jew-holiday decor is seriously lacking.


Whining over.  I made my own menorahs. I found some inspiration on the internets and came up with a pretty cool idea. Some of you may remember Dinosaur Christmas from last year (I’m half Jewish, half Episcopalian). This is along those lines.


I bought a set of jumbo plastic jungle animals on Amazon. Then, I drilled 9 holes in them, in the places where I would want the candles to go. I used Sculpy to make the little candle-cuppy things. I tried to buy the ones for birthday cakes, but I could not find them. My cuppies  are not very uniform, but they work well-enough and I didn’t have to spend any money because I already had the sculpy.


Here’s a close up of the little cuppy things stuck into the holes that I drilled. I used some gorilla glue to help the cuppies stay in place.


Then I spray painted these bad boys. Silver elephant. Gold giraffe. Awesome.


I am so happy with how these turned out.  But, the candle wax pulls off the paint, so these may only be useful for one year. That’s OK though, because I am sure next year I will have another idea for making some DIY menorahs (and there are three more plastic animals that I haven’t spray painted yet. Gorilla menorah, anybody?).

IMG_0458More pictures.




There is still time to whip up one of these bad boys before Hanukah this year.  So go get yourself from plastic animals. Do it.

Happy Hanukah!





Latkes (AKA Potato Pancakes)

Latkes (AKA Potato Pancakes)

For those not in the know, latkes are potato pancakes that are traditionally eaten at Hanukah (pronounced “lot – KA”, almost rhymes with “vodka”). Hanukah is all about eating fried foods to commemorate the oil that lit the eternal light for 8 days, when it really should have lasted only one day.  Obviously, frying things at Hanukah makes perfect sense. Right?


So get ready to celebrate eight days of fried food by making some yummy latkes. Whether or not you are Jewish, I promise you will like them. Fried potatoes with onions? What’s not to like? Oh, and we eat latkes with sour cream and apple sauce. I don’t know why, but it’s an awesome flavor combination. Trust me.

To make the latkes for about 5 people:


About 3 lbs russet potatoes, washed and shredded. You can make quick work of shredding with a food processor with grating attachment. The potatoes don’t need to be peeled.

1.5 large onions, also shredded in the food processor

4 eggs

Salt and pepper

About 1/3 cup of flour (can use more if needed to get the potatoes to bind).

Lots of oil, preferably peanut or canola – something that has a high smoking point.

Lots of grated potatos

How To:

Once you have shredded the potatoes, rinse them in hot water to get the starch off. Drain well. Mix with the shredded onions, eggs, at least 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper and the flour. Sometimes it’s easier to just mix this together with your hands.

Potatoes and eggs.

While mixing, put about 1/4 of cup of oil into frying pan. We used an electric skillet so that we could cook the latkes in the garage, because otherwise your house will smell like latkes for days. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but just an FYI. Also, you should use a frying pan that has a lid, because this will help reduce grease splattering.

We cooked our latkes in the garage, and my dad covered nearby surfaces with painter’s paper and an oil towel to make clean up a little easier. The grease has a tendency to get on any and every surface.

Latke cooking station in the garage. Notice how my dad used painter's tape/paper to shield the cabinets from splattering grease.

Put on your latke clothes – oil will splatter, so I recommend wearing a old long sleeve shirt that can get dirty. I also like wearing oven mitts on each hand, because that prevents the grease from splattering on my hands when flipping the latkes. The crucial thing here is that your arms and hands are protected. A normal kitchen apron will not do the trick. I learned the hard way.

When the oil is hot (use a medium-high heat), put generous scoops of the potato mix into the hot oil (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the mix). Be careful: oil will splatter (I will keep on warning you about this, because it hurts). Let the latkes cook for about 4 minutes on each side, until a deep golden brown. Then flip. Again, be careful of hot grease!

Golden brown. But watch out for splattering grease. Ouchy!

Place cooked latkes on cookie sheets lined with brown paper grocery bags to soak up the grease. Add more oil to the pan as necessary to keep cooking the rest of the latkes. Keep cooked ones in a warm oven until it’s time to serve.

Top with plenty of apple sauce and sour cream. YUM YUM YUM!!!

Latke with sour cream and apple sauce.

I forgot to take pictures before I got the plate dirty, so this is actually a picture of a second-helping. One day, I will write a post where I don’t have to apologize for my poor photography. But that’s not today. May not be tomorrow. Only time will tell.

Happy Hanukah!

Love, Rachel